Museums | Sights,
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Where: Florida Craftsmen Gallery, 501 Central Ave. St. Petersburg, FL
When: Fri Jan 18 10am – 5:30pm
Jan. 18 - March 2 - Florida Craftsmen presents: Celebrating the Art of Craft.
Florida Craftsmen Gallery
501 Central Ave. St. Petersburg,
Hours: Mon. - Sat. 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
www.floridacraftsmen.net Exhibition Dates: January 18th-March 2, 2013
Opening Reception: Friday, January 18th 5:30 – 8:30pmYour eyes widen and the pace of your heart quickens….something about the artwork in front of you speaks to you in a way few other pieces do. The desire to be able to experience this piece every day is overwhelming …that’s how collecting begins.“COLLECTIONS: Celebrating the Art of Craft” features selected pieces from artwork gathered by over 15 collectors. It showcases the work of current and past craft artisans of note including Christina Federighi, Sang Roberson, Grady Kimsey, Robert Hodgell and many others. The earliest piece in the exhibit is earrings and a brooch created by Elsa Freund, one of the founders of Florida Craftsmen. In the early 50’s, Elsa and several other fine craft artists banded together for support and encouragement and began to organize statewide conferences and workshops. Sixty years later, Florida Craftsmen, a non-profit organization, has retail and exhibition galleries in downtown St. Petersburg, representing craftsmen throughout the state of Florida. Though each collection has a different flavor, work from a single artist appeared in many of the homes visited. Because many collected an artist over an extended period of time, there is an inherent documentation of the evolution of an artist’s style. One example is the work of Duncan McClellan, a local glass artist. Duncan’s crisp, overlay sand-carved images are familiar to many but they may not have seen some of his earlier graal work.
There is a stark contrast in the two pieces representing Susan Livingston, one an early piece using stoneware and colored clay and the second and later piece, which is a whimsical architectural work. Sang Roberson's burnished, soft-shouldered, lidded containers blend the definitions of boxes and vessels. Though they are created in clay, the vessels are reminiscent of leather or metal. Sang credits much of her success to the encouragement by Florida Craftsmen. As an emerging artist, she was encouraged by the organization to enter art shows and, much to her surprise, began to win awards. Further encouragement took her to bigger and better exhibits. She was accepted to the prestigious Smithsonian Craft Show and was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Fred and Emily Gurtman explain their love of collecting saying, “We enjoy sharing the collecting process together and one of the things we value most is the relationships we’ve developed over time – the friendships with artists, other collectors, gallery owners, curators and museum professionals. We truly love to learn how an artist makes something and what it represents to him or her. Collecting is not just about buying; it’s about visiting studios and becoming more educated about art.”